250kW of liquid energy - the vanadium-flow batteryA mega-sized version of the vanadium flow battery is announced today and it will deliver up to 250kW of power. Its name comes from its power, called the EPS250 and it is built by the Imergy Power Systems company. Endless discussions have been taken on batteries subjects, different chemistries and designs but this flow type wasn't mentioned that much.
A rechargeable fuel cell is basically a flow battery, an electrolyte fuel that is kept in large tanks that are pumped through a reactor. If the reactor is big and powerful, the released power will be the same. The same will happen with the storage. The size of the storage tanks determines how much power can be stored. A characteristic of this flow battery is that this energy storage can be decoupled from the energy output.
A lithium-ion battery cannot be expanded so easy in the matter of size but the flow one is, theoretically. If the size is doubled, the battery life gets doubled and it is as simple as doubling the size of the storage tank. Another characteristic of this particular type of battery is that it discharges very fast but it also charges back in the same time.
Imergy Power Systems company uses vanadium for both of the electroactive elements regardless of what types of flow batteries are. This flow batteries filled with vanadium have a huge lifespan of 30 to 50 years and they support more discharge cycles than the lithium-ion batteries. Also, the vanadium flow batteries are extremely stable and if the battery is left in a discharged state, it won't gonna take any damage.
This type of battery has a lot of advantages but there are disadvantages as well. The total energy density of the solution is low but the research into improving it is underway. A solution was already found to boost that density to 70%. A different electrolyte formulation will be used to accomplish this.
The battery market – long term
There is a huge debate on the usefulness of batteries and if they can be combined with wind power or solar power to be cheaper or match the cost of the existing factories.The thing is that most of the countries can't afford such technologies or methods because they are poor and their infrastructure is weak. Also, the natural deposits of fossil fuels are low and all of these are usually ignored.
Solar power, hydro power, geothermal power and wave power consist an enormous renewable energy potential owned by Africa. These are not exploited as they should be.
Imergy Power Systems stated that they can deliver power for a normal cost in many areas across the continent. They will focus on the developed world and also on the developing one and the most important, the power will be renewable.